The World’s A Stage Players, a troupe affiliated with The Concord Players, returns to the steps of the Concord Free Public Library with their 11h production. Outdoor performances of Richard II are scheduled for September 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 5 p.m., with an indoor performance at 51 Walden Street on September 15.
“Shakespeare’s histories are every bit as compelling and emotionally rich as Macbeth or Hamlet,” says director Mike Haddad. “Richard II is the first of eight plays in the so-called Henriad, which tells the story of 185 years of English history. Shakespeare wrote Richard II before his most celebrated tragedies, and like those plays, it’s full of unforgettable characters who face agonizing dilemmas.”
“The language is beautiful and profound,” says Ed Bernard, a Concord resident who plays John of Gaunt. “When explaining why he changed his mind about a prior agreement, my character says ‘Things sweet to taste prove in digestion sour.’ He also talks about ‘gnarling sorrow,’ ‘devouring pestilence,’ and a grave’s ‘hollow womb.’ I love this kind of poetic, powerful language.”
Richard II is the second production of the summer of 2023 for The World’s A Stage Players – they completed a successful run of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in late June.
“We’ve talked about staging some version of the Henriad for several years now,” says Nick Meunier, who directed Midsummer and plays Richard II. “But we also wanted to continue with the comedies and lighter plays. Presenting two summer-based productions lets us to do both.”
The play features many fully drawn, three-dimensional characters. “My character acts like a scheming, ambitious power grabber,” says Tofer Carlson, who plays Henry Bolingbroke (Henry IV), “But he isn’t written that way. He pardons his transgressing enemies, allows the king to abdicate peacefully and maintains his humanity throughout.”
“And he loves his dad,” quips Ed Bernard, his father in the play.
Andrew Harrington, who plays York, has put together an informative 4-minute video on the relationships between the characters in the play, which can be found online by searching for “YouTube Concord Players.”
Attendees can bring their own chairs or blankets, and limited seating will be available. For more information, visit www.concordplayers.org.